• What is the stance (i.e., that which is most prevalent across the psych "community" —both research and applied) on whether mental illnesses are inventions, discoveries, or some combination thereof?
  • Is there or has there been much debate or critical analysis on this; if so, by or between whom, when, and to what affect on the field?
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ When I first saw your question it seemed frivolous. But I soon realized that you are asking a very important question. I don't have time to review the literature, but I can give you my short answer: both. The degree to which a specific disorder is a discovery or an invention varies. Schizophrenia is more discovery; specific personality disorders are more invention. The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) approach seeks to discover mental illnesses. $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2020 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ Rather that 'discoveries' or 'inventions', an alternative is 'description' or 'classification'. My understanding is that all of the personality disorders (DSM5/ICD11) are observed patterns of behaviour that are common enough to warrant description and distinction from other common patterns of behaviour. For example, there is a sufficient minority of individuals with delusions, hallucinations, and disorganised thinking to warrant the label 'scitzophrenia'. When a future Nobel laureate identifies the cause of scitzophrenia, then we will have a discovery. $\endgroup$
    – Tony Mobbs
    Jan 3, 2021 at 23:10
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to psych.SE. This question is explicitly soliciting opinions, which is off-topic for this forum. However, it is an interesting question, so if it can be phrased in such a way as to be specific about what sort of evidence can be used to answer it, then please edit it accordingly, and then it can be reopened. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Jan 5, 2021 at 5:38


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